To become a LATAM flight attendant, I took a two-month course. Before this, however, I had to pass the selection process. It had five stages, including interviews and psychological and medical evaluations. A lot of people don’t pass these stages. For the medical exams alone, I took blood and urine tests, had a chest and spine X-ray, among other things. The objective was to determine if I had any physical condition that would prevent me from flying.
After this stage, I started studying at the LATAM school. It’s an intensive course, with classes from Monday to Friday, and sometimes on Saturdays too. The first month is for theoretical study, with a discipline every two days, followed by a test. You learn things like types of aircraft, first aid, on-board service standards, and many safety procedures.
There’s a class in LATAM culture. You should smile and be kind to passengers. In the past, a short man who wore glasses – like me – could never be a flight attendant. These days, fortunately, these attributes don’t matter. What’s important is to have knowledge. Our three pillars are safety, attention, and efficiency.
The second month is for practical classes. They are the most anticipated classes! You practice how to act in case of evacuation on land and on water. You handle life jackets and fire extinguishers, and learn about the characteristics of each aircraft. I’m trained to fly on Airbus 319, 320, and 321 planes. If I want to change my route, I need to study and be trained for other aircraft.
The graduation ceremony is beautiful. You receive the uniform before your family. Your first flight is a week after graduation. I was so anxious that I couldn’t sleep for those seven days! However, as soon as I boarded the plane – it was a route from Santiago to Antofagasta –, I relaxed and enjoyed every moment. The other crew members helped me a lot, and the chief purser let me open and close the doors and control the cabin temperature. When we landed, I said to myself, “I’m a flight attendant.”